JOHANNESBURG (Jun. 22)
“Anti-Jewish” references in South Africa’s Parliament were denounced here today in a statement issued by the South African Board of Jewish Deputies. At the same time, an influential newspaper here, the Rand Daily Mail, attacked such practices editorially, calling on the Premier to “intervene and stop this evil before it gets out of hand.”
The anti-Semitic references were made on the floor of Parliament here last week when a debate concerned the use of arrested natives for forced labor on farms. Jewish deputies, led by Mrs. Helen Zusman, denounced the practice J. H. Schoembie, a member of the dominant Nationalist Party, then told Parliament: “If I were of Jewish descent, I would be the last person to raise this matter in the House.”
Mr. Schoombie’s reference was to the fact that a recent court action indicated that some of the farmers using impressed labor were Jews. However, last week, Chief Rabbi Louis L. Rabinowitz announced in the Great Synagogue here that, in response to his request, all but one of the Jewish farmers involved have already released the impressed laborers.
The Rand Daily Mail’s editorial advised the Premier: “In the face of decency, let him tell his supporters he will have none of this disgrace to South Africa.” The statement by the Deputies pointed out that “anti-Jewish references as such have fortunately been absent from public life for some time,” and urged freedom of discussion of public issues without reference to a member’s “religious or group affiliation”